WTF is an Adaptogen?!
It's not always that the latest wellness trend is backed by centuries old use and scientific studies. But in the case of Adaptogens, it is.
An adapt-a-what?! By now you've probably seen countless Wellness influencers obsessed with shovelling it into smoothies, Instagram feeds full of Sun Potion bottles and even perhaps thought, it's time to jump on board with the health sets latest craze, but really WTF is an Adaptogen?! and what are these purposed all-natural, all-curing, all-powerful substances doing to our bodies?
So before you start brewing up potions in your kitchen, read our guide and get the down-low on all things Adaptogenic herbs.
(As always consult with a registered practitioner before changing your diet or adding supplements).
Define it for me
A-dapt-o-gen: (a herbal medicine) a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.
The term Adaptogen refers to a class of non-toxic herbs and mushrooms which offer heavy-duty support for the body’s natural resistance to “adverse influences”. Generally, they are used to improve the health and quality functioning of your adrenal system – the system that is in charge of your body’s reactions to stress.
It is suggested that incorporating these sources into the daily dietary intake helps the body to carry out normal processes – such as digestion and regulating stress levels – which may not be functioning to their full potential due to “adverse influences” which dilute our natural facility to operate optimally and protect the body from stress - arguably the most chronic illness of modern life.
Okay, but what is an "Adverse Influence"?
As a generation focused on building empires and side hustles, whilst also hitting the gym, having a social life and eating like athletes - we are prone to an overbooked schedule and "too busy" lifestyles. All too often we are at the mercy of common influences which have an adverse, or negative effect, on our health and wellbeing, such as: rushing, working out too much, not enough rest, lack of high quality sleep, compromised immune systems, illnesses, straight up stress or emotional trauma such as anxiety or depression.
Modern day popularity VS Centuries Old history
Though they are the buzzword of the wellness industry ATM - Adaptogens weren’t actually born yesterday. They have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and the term itself was coined way back in 1940's in the USSR when researchers for the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Health began trials on this class of natural products to assist in their attempts to find a competitive edge over the rest of the world.
More recently, as they have been risen in popularity, no doubt helped by their growing popularity amongst wellness influencers and health fiends, several studies have found evidence which supports all the incredible claims from the wellness industry – Adaptogens offer positive benefits and ARE safe for long-term use.
How do Adaptogens work?
As the name suggest, Adaptogens work by helping the body adapt. They have a normalizing influence which directly affects the HPA-Axis (the body’s inbuilt system for producing hormones in response to stress) which means whatever direction your body is thrown out of balance, they will help bring your system back to homeostasis.
Due to this, Adaptogens can calm you down and boost your energy at the same time without overstimulating. By supporting adrenal function, they can help counteract the adverse effects of stress – physical, chemical and biological – and normalize body imbalances.
They can also help cells eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process, access more energy and utilize oxygen more efficiently.
The benefits of taking Adaptogens
The benefits experienced by using these holy-grail adapting herbs may include;
- Normalize the production of hormones
- Enhancing immune function
- Improving athletic performance
- Enhancing mood and mental performance:
- Protecting cardiovascular health
- Balancing blood sugar:
- Enhancing energy
- Balancing reproductive hormones
The key players
So amongst the many Adaptogen herbs out there, we've rounded up the big key players making a splash in the smoothies of the Wellness scene.
Ashwagandha – The Super Antioxidant
Harmonizes the body and mind, reduces the effects of mental, emotional and physical stress and strengthens the immune system.
Reishi – The Queen Healer Mushroom
Traditionally used to nourish the heart and pacify the spirt, provides immune support and stress relief, whilst also touted as a longevity tonic.
He Shou Wu – For superior blood and longevity
Traditionally used for anti-ageing, bloody-building, beauty enhancing and rejuvenation. This can boost the immune system, improve resistance to cold, improve stamina and nourish your endocrine and nervous systems.
Chlorella – The green goddess
This potent and vivdly GREEN algae powder made of chlorophyll, protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids is thought to be one of the most nutritious and potent foods in the world.
Chaga- The King Healer Mushroom
With high levels of B-Vitamins, Melanin and Zinc, not only can Chaga modulate immune responses and cell production but it can also promote overall wellbeing and provide a strong source of energy.
Cordyceps – The Active adaptogen
Boosting the oxygenation of the body, immune system and mental power, whilst enhancing athletic energy, sexual energy and muscle tone, this is the complement to those who live an active lifestyle.
How to take Adaptogens?
The key to success when taking these powerful herbs is consuming small amounts over time. As they can be easily incorporated into your dietary routine, a small amount (1/4-1/2 tsp) allows the herbs to work by adapting to your body and assisting with natural bodily processes over time. You may not, and shouldn’t expect, to feel miraculous differences after day one, but trust in the little over a long time method to promote long-term benefits.
Suggested ways to try
To enjoy adaptogens, they can be mixed into brewed hot drinks – such as steeped in herbal teas, combined with water to make tonics, combined into smoothies, freshly pressed juices or breakfast bowls or even added to baking recipes.
Have you tried Adaptogen herbs? What are your favourites and what results have you seen? Let us know in the comments below or reach out on social!
Ordering your Adaptogens from iHerb? Use the referral code ROS0692 at checkout to get 5% off your order!